Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Rookie's Guide to Self-Publishing

A Few Recommendations at a Glance:
With the above services you don't get any help.
Which means you need to have your document ready and prepared in order to upload it for publishing and distribution.

Brief History of the eBook

With the rise of eBooks, today's market of self publisher's takes up 30-35% of all books sold in the US market today.  Along with 60% or more of all US book sales (both print and digital) go through an online retailer, which happens to be Amazon.

This enables all new writer's (myself included) to publish without a third party.  The good news is you can access the same level of online retail distribution as a traditional publisher.   Which means you don't pay until your books start selling.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Publish Digitally
  • Would your readers prefer print or digital?
  • In your chose genre, is it common place for author's to release an eBook?
  • Does your eBook require a lot of colour?  Is it highly illustrated?
  • How are you going to reach your readers online?
Author's who come pre-prepared and appear more comfortable online are more likely to succeed. Once you start writing, remember you're in it for the long haul.  Having an online presence as well as an established website is a must-have.  Over time sales will start to snowball, instead of in the first few months of release.

E-Publisher's and How They Work

It's important that you understand firstly that they aren't publisher's in the traditional sense.  This means they don't take any responsibility for your work (e.g.Amazon),, you earn up to 70% net.  See some distinguishing features below:
  • If there's no fee upfront then you can expect a percentage of the sale to be taken.
  • Self-publish at will and non exclusive:  With any eBook retailer your work can be uploaded or taken down at any time.  This allows you the freedom to; change the price, cover and description.  You can also sell your work through as many retailer's as you want.
  • No technical knowledge required: Larger retailer's offer automated tools, free guides and tutorials to ensure your files are formatted correctly.
If you're approached by a traditional publishing house you don't lose any rights's to the work you've written.

E-Publishing Services Categories

Services fall into one of these two categories below:
  • The single channel distributor: These retailer's (i.e. Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes and Noble's Nook Press) sell your work through only one channel or device.  They don't offer any assistance in preparing your eBook files.
  • The multiple channel distributor: They act as a middle man, by putting your out to multiple retailer's and distributor's.  Best know of these are Draft2Digital, BookBaby and Smashwords.
Quick Note About ISBN's

Your eBook will usually get an ISBN number through most distributor's and services.  In the UK you can buy it from:
Converting Your Book

Most services will ask you to upload the appropriate format.  The type of file formats does vary from company to company though.

Most common eBook formats:
  • PDF
  • Mobi
  • EPub
You can also find a couple of useful formatting and converting tools belows:
  • Calibre: Free software for conversion.
  • sigil: Free WYSIWYG both edits and formats eBooks in the EPub format.
eBook Cover Design

Unfortunately you have no control over how your eBook cover will display.  This means it may be seen in high resolution, gray scale, colour or white.  You should make it readable in all sizes and show up well on low-quality mobile devices.  Read more here on creating your own eBook cover.

This post contains affiliate links.  This means if you purchase through these links you are supporting 1976write and we thank you for that.


  1. I just wrote a pretty long first-hand piece about this if you're interested:


    1. Thanks for your comment Duke, your article is really interesting. I've bookmarked your article for future reference.